Budget Discussion Meeting- November 17, 2020
The Trafford Borough Council held a 2021 budget discussion meeting on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., in the Manchester Room.
Council President, Kris Cardiff, called the meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance and Moment of Silence.
Roll Call of Attendance by Assistant Manager Nina Solivan:
(Present) Kris Cardiff, Council President Ed Llewellyn, Mayor
Steven Perovich, Council Vice-President Ashley Stack, Borough Manager
Ralph Deabner, Councilmember Adam Hlad, Code Enforcement Officer
Leslie Peters, Councilmember
Casey Shoub, Councilmember (Via Phone)
(Absent) Zack Cole, Councilmember Christopher Corrales, Councilmember
Councilman Cardiff announced this meeting is for the purchase of discussing the proposed 2021 budget and 2021 fee schedule.
Manager Stack stated in front of you all is a 2021 budget summary. It lists the revenue and expenditure increased and decreases that have drastically changed.
Manager Stack stated she does not propose an increase in taxes for the 2021 fiscal year.
First, listed above, the revenues are our retained earnings for the various funds. Previously I was going low on my budgets because I didn't want us to take out a TAN. Over the last two years, we have built up a surplus of$410,000.00, so for 2021, I was aggressive in budgeting for infrastructure. In the general fund to date, we have a bank balance of $575,000.00 that does not include any checks that need to be processed. The liquid fuel balance is $107,000.00. The recreation fund balance is $4,951.00, with one outstanding check that needs to be cashed. The sewage fund balance is $715,000.00. Lastly, the Memorial Park balance is $8,500.00 and will be added under the unreserved net assets.
Real Property Taxes line items under section 301- were not changed or adjusted due to uncertainties with COVID-19.
Occupation Taxes line items under section 305-the delinquent taxes were decreased, and the current were increased to reflect our current actuals.
Earned Income Taxes line item number 310.21- was increased because we have received more this year. However, it was not increased too high because we do not know what effects COVID19 will still have in 2021.
A few significant revenue decreases are line item number 342.20- Rent of Manchester Room and 367.140- Pavilion Rental fees again due to COVID19.
Street opening permits line item number 322.50- have increased significantly due to Adam Hlad's efforts on holding utility companies accountable to obtain proper permits. Our actuals show more than what we are proposing, but with Adam leaving, we don't want to overcompensate.
Liquid Fuels Tax line item number 355.02- has decreased because our PennDOT rep informed us that we should expect to see a ten to twelve percent decrease in fund allocation.
Building permits line item number 362.41 is being decreased due to the Bradford Square II development's partial completion. Code Officer Hlad stated eight permits had been issued, with eight remaining lots available. Only two are occupied.
Manager Stack stated if there aren't any questions regarding the revenue, we will move on to expenditures.
First, all cost of living adjustments and anything pertaining to the police's collective bargaining agreements and the public works are included.
Manager Salary line item number 401.110- has been increased to $60,000.00 with half being split from the sewage fund. As some of you may remember, I turned down a job in January of 2019 for $60,000.00. Later in the year council stated there would be a bonus, and it was not discussed any further. So, if I had taken that position, I'd probably be making about $65,000.00 right now after increases from 2019. This is something that you guys can discuss, but that is what I put in for myself.
Councilman Cardiff questioned what percentage the total increase is. Manager Stack stated nine percent.
Councilwoman Peters questioned what percentage Assistant Manager Solivan would be receiving. Manager Stack stated a three percent cost of living increase.
The public works department increase this year based on the CBA is two and a half percent.
Medical costs are at a five percent increase, which is standard.
Auditing services line item number 402.311 has decreased due to Nina's bookkeeping.
Mayor Llewellyn questioned line item number 409.115 part-time wages public works. Manager Stack stated the part-time wages will now be split between general and sewage.
Manager Stack stated she met with our insurance broker today, and our liability costs have increased drastically due to various lawsuits from the fire department, 501 Cavitt, and a separate resident. Our current provider would not renew our coverage. Some companies would not even quote us. We were able to secure two comparable quotes: the one we are going with is a previous provider and has serviced the borough before. One option they provided is retroactive coverage, which will provide coverage back to 2010, which is nice because this year, we have received multiple lawsuits. Being that the costs cover sewage-related items, we are also budgeting liability into the sewage fund.
Capital construction line item number 409.610 includes the borough's match for the Blight Remediation Program. DCED is aware that 201-203 Brinton Avenue has been raised and will adjust our grant application to reflect that.
Councilman Perovich stated thankfully at no cost to the borough. Manager Stack stated yes, thanks to Adam's hard work. He will be missed.
Police wages 410.112 and 410.115 were moved from one-line item to the other. Council approved an advertisement for an updated list, and should the council decide to hire an additional full-time officer. The wages were taken from part-time and placed in full-time.
Councilman Perovich questioned the item listed on the budget summary titled street sweeper line item 409.740.
Manager stack explained the borough receives numerous calls annually regarding leaf collection. The borough has not collected leaves for private property owners within the past three years per our Waste Management contract. We do collect them near borough-owned property. Manager Stack stated she has spoken with the borough engineer, and he provided a letter of support regarding the possible purchase. Public works foreman Lou Corrales had spoken with Pitcairn to rent theirs possibly, but they purchased a used machine that does not always cooperate. Manager Stack stated if we are going to buy a street sweeper, she recommends a new machine that comes with a warranty and can be appropriately maintained. The sweeper would serve multiple purposes allowing the borough to receive MS4 credits, the capability to keep catch basins clean, ultimately preserving our roadways. The sweeper is costarred and would be financed for five years. The expected life of the sweeper is 20 to 25 years with proper maintenance. The machine is compact and does not require a CDL driver.
Manager Stack stated she feels the purchase of a sweeper would lead to positive reactions from residents.
Councilman Deabner questioned how parking would be handled.
Manager Stack stated she would reach out to other municipalities to determine how they handle logistics/parking and see which methods would work best in coordination with the Police Chief.
Councilman Perovich questioned if street sweeping would be permitted on state roads. Manager Stack stated no, only on borough-owned roadways.
Councilwoman Peters questioned if there were plans to purchase an additional vehicle as line item 410.750 is remaining the same at $14,000.00. Manager Stack stated the funds allocated are for the current vehicle's annual payments.
Councilwoman Peters questioned what line item number 410.384 consists of. Manager Stack stated it is the xerox machine lease. Originally it was placed in a different line item.
Councilman Perovich mentioned the line item number 410.197 had risen quite a bit. Manager Stack stated yes, the police currently contribute 1% towards their pension per the CBA. For the next contract, I will be asking for more. Anytime we hire a full-time police officer, the pension requirements increase significantly.
Manager Stack moved on to line item 438.000. The proposed allocation is where all grant matches will come from. CDBG Inwood and Mary Street approximately $21,000.00. We were told our application is waiting on HUD approval and our odds are promising. The funds for the Meadow Street grant are also lumped into this allocation, approximately $30,000.00. The 2021 paving program is also included in the 438.000 line item. Don Glenn prepared a quote for Viaduct Way for $110,000.00. Manager Stack stated she had additional roadways on the list for paving, but we will use RoadBotics to determine which roads once the data has been reviewed.
Councilwoman Peters questioned if monies were allocated for the BY Park DCNR grant matching funds.
Manager Stack stated no, if that is an item council would like to add, we can. The funds would not go under 438.000, but a different line item as 438.000 is reserved for maintenance and road repairs.
Manager Stack questioned what the total matching fund's amount was.
Councilwoman Peters stated, $39,800.00. Manager Stack questioned if we were looking to apply for the same amount. Council did not have a chance to collectively look through all of the proposed renovations as COVID hit. The fountain was extremely expensive. Manager Stack stated she feels we could do without a new fountain as we have an aerator that was just purchased within the last three years to which the recreation board contributed funds. Manager Stack stated the fountain alone at the time of the proposal was $12,000.00.
Councilwoman Peters stated the purchase of a new fountain was part of the rec board's recommendations. The fountain attracts visitors.
Manager Stack questioned if the proposed $12,000.00 would aerate the pond correctly. Councilwoman Peters stated yes, the architect assured her it would.
Manager Stack stated that if the council wants to include this grant into the budget, she would need to deduct allocated funds from 438.000 to a different line item for capital improvements under parks.
Councilwoman Peters stated the Recreation Board is aware that fundraising will be necessary. We need to invest in our parks to increase our revenues.
Councilman Cardiff reiterated that the borough's matching portion would roughly be $39,000.00 based on last year's proposal. The borough's year-end fund balance shows a balance of $26,172.00. Manager Stack stated $22,000.00 of the surplus is reserved for debt service. Our surplus is only a few thousand dollars. The funds would need to be deducted from 438.000. Councilwoman Peters stated that when the grant becomes available this January, we can revise the previous proposal. The grant's significant expenses were to go towards an extension from the WHT to the BY restrooms along the tree line, a safe walking path around the pond, and access from the parking lot to the trail. If the fountain is the issue, we can re-work the numbers.
Councilman Deabner stated he recalls there being a discussion regarding drainage alongside the tree line.
Manager Stack stated yes, the borough engineer did write up a report regarding the area. The report consisted of all of the issues in the area and cost estimates that were substantial. Manager Stack questioned if drainage was factored into the proposal.
Councilwoman Peters stated the architect did look at the space. He has the original specs from when the rewind was first built. So, he's very familiar with the area, I'm sure he's taken elevation and drainage into consideration. Councilwoman Peters stated she feels the renovation will increase pavilion revenues.
Manager Stack stated pavilion rentals aren't the issue; it's the geese. If the council chooses to include the grant match, we will need to pull money from infrastructure. Manager Stack stated we could save funds by not purchasing a new fountain.
Councilman Perovich questioned the total grant cost. Councilwoman Peters stated the total cost is $108,075.00. $30,000.00 automatically gets credited. The remaining balance would be $78, 175.00. The grant requires a 50/50 match. Our responsibility would be $39,087.50.
Councilman Perovich questioned if we would need to pay the full $39,087.50.
Councilwoman Peters stated that is our required match. That number can be adjusted based on the proposal. If we remove the fountain, the match will be reduced by $12,000.00.
Councilman Cardiff questioned if the 50% match of $39,000.00 had to come from the borough strictly or could we reach out to other organizations for funds and services. Councilwoman Peters stated her goal is to make this as least expensive as possible. Councilwoman Peters stated she feels a $39,000.00 investment is worth it. The park has not had a major renovation since its inception.
Councilwoman Peters stated she would double-check on the in-kind services.
Mayor Llewellyn questioned the increased allocation for the library's electricity.
Assistant Manager Solivan stated there had been an issue with the electric meter and was not reading properly for the last five years. So, the increase is actual usage.
Manager Stack moved onto ALCOSAN rates. The rates will be increasing by seven percent. Council will vote on the resolution at the next meeting. The fees will also be included in the fee schedule. The consumption rate will move from $8.50 to $9.10. The basic service fee will move from $17.86 to $19.11. The borough is not increasing the maintenance or debt fee.
Councilwoman Peters questioned 459.450 contracted services. The allocation is listed at $10,000.00, what is the average generated income. Our current income is $9,500.00. Last year our income was approximately $19,000.00. The contracted services consist of cleaning services, appliance services, beverage services.
Councilman Cardiff questioned 289.50 in the sewage budget. Manager Stack stated those funds is our surplus. We don't have any major projects planned for 2021, but all it takes is one emergency. Manager Stack stated she left the same amount of funds in line item 429.650 in case of a sewer emergency.
Manager Stack stated 429.364 are ALCOSAN's charges to the borough, and 364.10 is the income for sewage. It looks like we receive a lot more, but it is just a pass-through to ALCOSAN.
Councilman Perovich questioned if we will be receiving any tap-in fees from Moronda. Manager Stack stated we had received all sixteen tap-in fees in a lump sum of $48,000.00 in 2019. They were all a part of the forced main agreement.
Councilman Cardiff questioned the increase listed for $3,500.00 line item 429.450.
Assistant Manager Solivan stated this line item is reserved for gloves and repair services for sanitary equipment.
Manager Stack stated our sanitary camera repair shop is no longer in business, so where we have to take it now is a lot more expensive.
Councilman Shoub questioned if we will need to create a line item for the HOA escrow funds.
Manager Stack stated we would need a separate fund, but we will need to talk more about it.
Council did not have any additional comments or questions regarding the General or Sewage budget.
Manager Stack moved onto discussing the 2021 fee schedule.
Manager Stack stated any items that were highlighted in red were items that Adam, Nina, and I had discussed possible changes.
Manager Stack stated under the uniform construction code on pages two and three. We added residential and commercial solar array for $150.00. The borough does very little work during a solar installation. We are proposing a flat fee instead of the normal UCC permitting fees. Code Officer Hlad stated under the current fees; the applicant would be paying a general building permit fee, which can become very costly, which isn't fair as the borough does not have much involvement; all we do is issue a permit.
Manager Stack moved to the excavation permit fee. We are proposing a decrease in this fee as this is the biggest complaint we receive from residents who are digging on their property. Adam has researched this fee in other municipalities, and ours is much higher. Code Officer Hlad stated anytime somebody has a machine in their yard and they're digging, they're supposed to get an excavation permit. Many people don't, and as I drive around, I have to approach them. Most are taken back because they're already spending thousands and thousands of dollars to have a machine do whatever it's doing. So, adding $150.00 on top of what they're already paying is steep. Based on the last calendar year, I calculated we'd be losing maybe $1,500.00 by dropping it down to $75.00. I think the goodwill would go further.
Manager Stack moved onto health and sanitation annual license fee. The current fee is $200.00. Our service provider charges the borough $65.00 per trip. Well, there've been a couple of facilities in the borough that have had to have multiple re-inspections. When this happens, the borough is losing money, and other taxpayers have to cover the costs. We will be adding verbiage to state the $200.00 fee covers two inspections; any additional inspection will result in an additional fee of $65.00.
Manager Stack moved on to other services. A facility charge of $35.00 was added to cover Nina's time for tour no-shows. Often Nina will stay late to do a tour of the Manchester Room, and interested parties will not call or show.
A special event permit is a new permit that would allow businesses', groups, and residents the opportunity to host events. The permit lists what specific road closures they would be requesting if borough assistance will be necessary; the application is very in-depth. Manager Stack stated she did discuss the permit application with Larry George specifically about Cars n Coffee. Manager Stack said she would email the application to the council. It's a clear and concise process that will inform the applicants of their responsibilities.
Councilwoman Peters questioned if this permit application and the fee would pertain to Holiday Happenings. Manager Stack stated for 2021, yes, the council can choose to waive the cost. However, the application and certificate of liability would need to be submitted.
Code Officer Hlad stated we had multiple inquires on block parties over the summer months.
Mayor Llewellyn questioned if this would pertain to the ballfields. Manager Stack replied no, that would fall under something separate amusement admissions, which we are waiting to hear back from the solicitor for clarification.
Mayor Llewellyn stated All American generates so much traffic that contributes to the deterioration of the roadways. We should be able to collect a fee to put back into the borough.
Councilman Perovich concurred.
Councilman Cardiff informed Manager Stack to let him know all of what she needs to be addressed with the solicitor and he will get it taken care of.
Councilwoman Peters thanked the admin staff and code for all of their hard work.
Manager Stack stated she would add Veterans Memorial and the BY Park grant to the budget and email the council a copy.
Councilwoman Peters questioned if any council member is willing to stand at the corner of Fourth and Cavitt during the twinkle tour. If not, she will give the spot away to a business.
The idea of the event is to highlight our business. The business will be handing out candy and little trinkets along the way.
Manager Stack stated the tree would be decorated and on in time for the event.
Councilman Perovich questioned if Parente's was sold. Manager Stack stated yes, it has closed.
Councilman Cardiff stated he spoke with Brandon as he has spoken with the new owners. They are hoping to be opened by March. It's supposed to be a bar and restaurant with a different concept.
The meeting concluded with no further comments or questions.
A motion "to adjourn" was made by Councilwoman Peters and seconded by Councilman Perovich.
The motion carried unanimously 5-0.